Albert Jenks wins Kimo’s Longboard Contest
LAHAINA — The 32nd annual Kimo’s Longboard Contest in Memory of Rob Thibaut was held in excellent conditions on July 26 at Mala Wharf.
The surf site at Mala Wharf in front of Lahaina Jodo Mission is considered one of the top high-performance waves not only in Hawaii, but the world over.
Two weeks ago Sunday, the waves at “Mala-bu” were three to four feet with light winds and a dropping tide all day, and event coordinator Jack “Da Rippa” Starr, Kimo’s restaurant’s assistant general manager, called the conditions ideal for the contest’s 48 competitors.
“With our requirements for boards nine feet and longer and no leashes, we want to continue the mission statement for the Kimo’s Longboard Contest in Memory of Rob Thibaut of ‘One foot in the past, one foot in the future’ to honor the classic surfing of years gone by,” said Starr. “We also want to pay tribute to the people that started this event and those that carry it on today, including Jaime Arreola, Alex MacDougal, Dickie Moon, Ron LaClergue and Bill Terry.
“Also, a very important aspect of this event is that we raise contributions to the (American Cancer Society) Relay For Life event, and this year the generosity reached $10,500.”
The contest is held in a repecharge format that gives the competitors the opportunity for a backdoor entry to the finals and at least two 20-minute surf sessions in the quality Mala Wharf peelers.
The contestants were grouped in six-surfer heats. There were two women competitors, and the senior ripper was Bob “Ole” Olson at 79 years young.
The judges, all surfing legends, included Greg Unabia, Alan Shubin, John Robinson, Nathan Moody, Steve “Pompadour” Peron and Kevin Johns.
The first place finisher and winner of a custom Bumble Bee longboard from Ole Surfboards was Albert “Soulman” Jenks, who came up on top over two-time defending champ Kalei Kauhane in second place, followed by Pete Peterson, Casey Casco, Greg “Smitty” Smith and Jake Ramey.
“I would like to extend our congratulations to all 48 of the competitors for their great surfing, and many thanks to the event staff of Patty B. Kauhane, Jeff Starr, Jennifer Durnin, Tule Souza, Jill Eckenrode and Augie Costantino for putting the event together. It wouldn’t have been possible without them,” Starr said.
He also praised the contest sponsors, including West Maui Cycles, Ole Surfboards, Surfline Hawaii, Dragin’ Ink, Doomas Photography, HI-Tech, Pitzer Construction, Hawaiian Island Creations, Geezer Graphics, Sheraton Maui, Westin Maui, TS Restaurants, Kona Brewing Co., and Reverend Hara and the Jodo Mission.